How Good Are The Eagles In The Draft Under Howie Roseman?

Patrick Causey, on Twitter @pcausey3

Many of you are probably wondering why the hell I am writing about the draft on the week leading up to the start of the regular season. Fair point. But in my last post, I said Howie Roseman had a mixed track record in the draft. But I largely assumed that was the case based on my understanding of the Eagles draft history.

I started to fixate on whether I had any concrete data to back it up. My fixation led to research, which led to a 2,000 word article on the draft. So here we are.

I’m going to update this post during draft season, but my goal is to quantify how successful Roseman has been in the draft compared to his peers. The first thing I learned? Evaluating the evaluators is as much of a crapshoot as the NFL draft process itself, a sentiment echoed by FiveThirtyEight.com this past April.

But there is enough evidence out there to evaluate Roseman’s track record to some extent. Here, I relied on three sets of data during the time period in which Roseman was the general manager (2010 through 2014):

  • (1) comparing the percentage of games that Roseman’s picks started with the historical expected start rate for a player drafted in the same round;
  • (2) comparing Roseman’s rate at drafting Pro Bowl and All Pro players to the league wide average and compared to some of the best in the game; and
  • (3) comparing the approximate value of the players that Roseman selected with other players from the same draft class.

So what did I find? The overall picture is a bit murky. Some metrics suggest Roseman is a below average talent evaluator compared to his peers, while others suggest he is above average. Where there is no disagreement, however, is Roseman’s rate at identifying top tier talent  — it’s not good, and explains why the Eagles haven’t seriously competed for a Super Bowl in the last six season.

Before getting to the data, a quick note.  Lurie’s “shared responsibility” front office structure makes it impossible to identify who had final say over draft picks. Was it Reid? Roseman? Kelly? I realize that everyone has their own opinion on this. But I am not concerned with parsing that out here. I am only concerned with how the Eagles have drafted under Roseman (hence the title); I’ll defer to others to assign credit or blame for a particular pick.

Judging by “Start Rate” 

There are a number of ways by which you can measure the success rate of general managers, each of which carry their own inherent flaws. Caveats aside, I am evaluating the relative success of our draft picks by comparing the percentage of games each Eagles draftee has started to the expected start percentage based on data I compiled from Pro-Football-Reference.com.

To determine the expected start rate, I examined every draft pick taken from 2010-2014 and calculated the average start rate for each round of the draft during that time period. So, for example, I found that first round draft picks from 2010-2014 have started, on average, 63.62% of their possible games. As you will see in a minute, Marcus Smith (started 0% of his possible games) would be considered a failed pick, while Fletcher Cox (89%), would be considered a success.

You can access the entire data set I compiled here, which provides some useful information regarding not only the overall strength of a draft class, but also the strength of a particular round within each draft. But this chart summarizes my overall findings:

Round Start % Range
1 63.6% 58.4% – 65.6%
2 42.5% 39.5% – 45.8%
3 34.8% 29.4% – 40.4%
4 23.4% 18.7% – 29.7%
5 17.5% 15.6% – 20.7%
6 12.3% 10.7% – 13.8%
7 10.6% 7.8% – 14.8%

Not surprisingly, the percentages track what we would have expected: higher round draft picks start more frequently than the lower round picks. I did not see any trends in the data that required me to adjust the raw numbers. For example, with the league average career at 3.3 years, one might expect higher start percentages for more recent drafts. That was not the case. So I am sticking with these overall numbers.

Start Rates of Roseman’s Picks

Here is each draft pick made by the Eagles under Roseman from 2010 until 2014. I am excluding this past year for obvious reasons and 2015 since Roseman was not involved in personnel decisions. Numbers highlighted in red indicate a player falling short of his expected start rate, while numbers in green show a player that exceeded it.

2014

Round Player Position Start % Expected Start %
1 Marcus Smith LB 0% 63.6%
2 Jordan Matthews WR 71.8% 42.5%
3 Josh Huff WR 12% 34.8%
4 Jaylen Watkins CB 0% 23.4%
5 Taylor Hart DE 3% 17.5%
6 Ed Reynolds DB 9% 12.3%
7 Beau Allen DT 6.25% 10.6%

2013

Round Player Position Start % Expected Start %
1 Lane Johnson T 91.6% 63.6%
2 Zach Ertz TE 29.7% 42.5%
3 Bennie Logan DT 79.1% 34.8%
4 Matt Barkley QB 0% 23.4%
5 Earl Wolff DB 14% 17.5%
7 Joe Kruger DE 0% 10.6%
7 Jordan Poyer DB 5% 10.6%
7 David King DE 0% 10.6%

2012

Round Player Position Start % Expected Start %
1 Fletcher Cox DT 89% 63.6%
2 Mychal Kendricks LB 82.8% 42.5%
2 Vinny Curry DE 0% 42.5%
3 Nick Foles QB 60.9% 34.8%
4 Brandon Boykin DB 10.9% 23.4%
5 Dennis Kelly T 23.4% 17.5%
6 Marvin McNutt WR 7.8% 12.3%
6 Brandon Washington G 0% 12.3%
7 Bryce Brown RB 10.9% 10.6%

2011

Round Player Position Start % Expected Start %
1 Danny Watkins G 22.5% 63.6%
2 Jaiquawn Jarrett S 11.2% 42.5%
3 Curtis Marsh CB 0% 34.8%
4 Casey Matthews LB 20% 23.4%
4 Alex Henery K 62.5% 23.4%
5 Dion Lewis RB 7.5% 17.5%
5 Julian Vandervelde G 0% 17.5%
6 Jason Kelce C 77.5% 12.3%
6 Brian Rolle LB 16.25% 12.3%
7 Greg Lloyd LB 0% 10.6%
7 Stanley Havili RB 12.5% 10.6%

2010

Round Player Position Start % Expected Start %
1 Brandon Graham DE 23.9% 63.6%
2 Nate Allen S 75% 42.5%
3 Daniel Te’o-Nesheim DE 28.1% 34.8%
4 Trevard Lindley DB 1% 23.4%
4 Keenan Clayton LB 1% 23.4%
4 Mike Kafka QB 0% 23.4%
4 Clay Harbor TE 36.4% 23.4%
5 Ricky Sapp DE 0% 17.5%
5 Riley Cooper WR 56.25% 17.5%
6 Charles Scott RB 0% 12.3%
7 Jamar Chaney LB 23.9% 10.6%
7 Jeff Owens DT 0% 10.6%
7 Kurt Coleman DB 48.9% 10.6%

So what do these numbers tell us?

  • The Eagles had 48 total picks from 2010-2014.
  • Under Roseman, the Eagles met or exceeded the expected start rate for 17 of the 47 picks.
  • So the Eagles “success rate” in the draft under Roseman is 36.17%. 
  • Put another way, 30/47 draft picks failed to meet their expected average start rate.

We can probably take issue with how certain players are characterized. For example, this approach considers Brandon Graham, Zach Ertz and Vinny Curry as misses because they didn’t start the requisite number of games. That’s clearly not right. But it also marks Alex Henery, Nate Allen and Brian Rolle as hits, and those characterizations seem equally suspect. In other words, I think it’s reasonable to assume that this evens out in the end, but I won’t argue if you make some changes to the classifications.

At first blush, these numbers suggest that Roseman/the Eagles are falling short of what we would expect. When you are meeting “average” production only 36% of the time, that seems like a problem. But I would feel more confident in that conclusion if I ran this calculation for all 32 general managers during that five year window. That would give me a much more accurate benchmark by which to evaluate how Roseman has done. I am going to leave that for leading up to the draft, since it is going to take a herculean effort to run those calculations. It will be much easier for me to spread out running the numbers over the course of the season given my other time commitments.

I filled in the gaps by looking at other research done on success rates of draft picks. The best data set I could find came straight from the horses mouth: ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky interviewed several general managers that provided their teams’ internal statistics regarding draft success rates. Teams have access to much more comprehensive data sets than I do, so I feel confident relying on this.

Here is one general manager’s bench mark for success: 1st and 2nd round picks: 56%, third round picks 35%. Those numbers are almost identical to the numbers I have compiled (combined 53.05% for 1st and 2nd rounders, 35% for third). So I feel comfortable using this as a baseline for evaluating Roseman’s picks, even if the relative definition of “success” might be different.

The Eagles had 11 first and second round picks from 2010-2014. Based on the data above, five of 11 were hits, or 45%. An argument can be made to count Graham, Curry, and Ertz as hits, but Allen as a miss. Under that assumption, Roseman’s hit rate is a much more impressive 63%.

The Eagles also had 5 third round picks during this time period, and hit on 2 of them, or 40%. I wouldn’t change any of the hits or misses as they are defined above, so Roseman beats that rate.

Finally, one general manager suggested that teams aim to gain 2.3 starters out of every 7 picks (Bill Polian was much more aggressive, saying good teams hit on 4.5 out of 7 picks, but he included undrafted free agents in that calculation, something I have not accounted for in this study). Using that 2.3 mark, we should expect 15.36 starters out of the 48 picks the Eagles had. Based on my evaluation, the Eagles drafted 10 such players: Cox, Kendricks, Johnson, Ertz, Logan, Matthews, Coleman, Graham, Curry and Kelce. Maybe we could include Allen and Henery in the mix. But getting to 15 would require us to consider players like Lewis, Foles and Boykin as starters. And I don’t think the evidence we have to date supports that conclusion. So Roseman falls short of this mark.

Bottom line: Roseman graded out positively under some metrics, but came up short on others. I think we will get more clarification once I run the numbers for other GMs, so for now let’s split the baby and call his rate middle of the pack.

All Pro and Pro Bowl Players

Another way to measure Roseman’s draft acumen is to compare the rate at which he has drafted Pro Bowlers and All Pros with the rest of the league.

According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, there have been 1,272 players drafted from 2010-2014. Out of those draft picks, 116 have been named All Pros, which is 9% of the players drafted. That means we should expect each team to draft, on average, 3.625 All Pros during that time period.

The Eagles have zero. (Although I firmly believe that Fletcher Cox should have received an All Pro award, but I digress).

What about Pro Bowls? Again courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, there were 207 Pro Bowl selections for players drafted from 2010 to 2014. That is an average of 6.46 Pro Bowlers per team.

The Eagles have three: Kelce (2014), Cox (2015), Nick Foles (2013). Even if we count Kurt Coleman’s Pro Bowl with the Panthers last year (and I don’t think we should), Roseman still falls short of the league wide average.

A recent study on NFL.com confirms Roseman’s place below the elite general managers when it comes to identifying and drafting elite talent. Mike Huguenin found the top 10 general managers had the following success rate at drafting Pro Bowl players:

  • Ryan Grigson, Colts: 9.09%
  • Ozzie Newsome, Ravens: 9.09%
  • Mike Brown, Bengals: 9.52%
  • Rick Spielman, Vikings:  10.34%
  • Ted Thompson, Packers: 10.42%
  • Bill Belichick, Patriots: 10.53%
  • Kevin Colbert, Steelers: 12.3%
  • Rick Smith, Texans: 12.33%
  • John Schneider, Seahawks: 14.58%
  • Mickey Loomis, Saints: 14.6%
  • Jerry Jones, Cowboys: 14.72% (What the hell?!)

Under Roseman, the Eagles success rate is 6.25%.

Some might question how fair this study is given that the Eagles have drafted towards the tail end of the first round more often than not. It’s a reasonable question, but one that doesn’t hold up under closer scrutiny. Look at that list again: it includes the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Vikings, Seahawks, Saints, and Ravens, to name a few, teams that are routinely drafting at the end of the first round.

That Roseman struggles at drafting elite players is not controversial. If you were asked to identify the biggest weakness of the Eagles, outside of lacking a franchise quarterback, you would likely say that they lack elite playmakers. This lends credence to that idea.

Evaluating by Approximate Value

The final way I judged Roseman’s drafting ability is by using Pro-Football-Reference.com’s approximate value metric. Specifically, I examined where the Eagles draft picks ranked in terms of approximate value compared to their peers. This approach confirmed the results above: the Eagles do a decent job at accumulating league average players, but fall short when it comes to getting elite ones.

Consider this, of the 48 players the Eagles drafted, only one — Fletcher Cox — ranks in the top 10 in approximate value for his respective draft class. That’s a poor rate compared to the top franchises in the league.

Or consider this: in two consecutive drafts, 2010 and 2011, the Eagles did not get a single player that currently ranks in the top 32 of approximate value (i.e., a first round talent).

And finally, the Eagles drafted five players that rank in their respective top 32 (Cox, Johnson, Logan, Kendricks and J Matt). But that pales in comparison to the Seahawks (11), Bengals (9), and Steelers (8).

Here is a breakdown of the analysis:

2010:

2011:

  • 254 players drafted.
  • The Eagles again do not have any players rated in the top 32 of approximate value.
  • The highest rated player, Jason Kelce, just missed out, ranking 33rd overall.
  • The Seahawks and Bengals have 3, while the Cowboys and Broncos have 2.
  • Confirming our belief that the 2011 draft was historically bad, the Eagles have only one other player in the top 100, Casey Matthews, who ranked 99th in career approximate value.

2012:

2013:

2014:

The biggest concern is that the Eagles have only one player in the top 10 of their respective draft classes. This falls short of some of the best franchises in the league. Perhaps Logan, Ertz and/or Johnson make the jump over the next year or two. Or maybe Wentz becomes that guy. Either way, the Eagles are going to need to get more elite talent if they are going to realistically compete for a Super Bowl.

Final study: Rotoworld evaluated the 2011-2015 drafts based on approximate value. It doesn’t perfectly track our timeline, but it’s pretty damn close. As you can seee in the graph below, they track the combined approximate value of each franchise’s draft picks compared to the number of draft picks used.

As you could have guessed, Seattle blows everyone out of the water given their late round hits with Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, etc. Houston, Cincinnati and Carolina are also very efficient in terms of maximizing value for the number of picks they used. While the Giants, Saints, Lions and 49ers have come up short on approximate value.

Philadelphia is averaging about dead center in the NFL in terms of number of picks and approximate value.

RotoWorld

The Take-Away

We can confidently say that under Roseman, the Eagles have come up short identifying and drafting elite talent in the draft. There is less certainty regarding how they have done overall. The evidence suggests that they are right around league average, but I’ll feel more confident once I can dig into the success rates of every general manager in the league.

What do you think? Leave a comment below. I am interested to hear your thoughts and see if you have any ideas on additional ways to examine this.

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15 thoughts on “How Good Are The Eagles In The Draft Under Howie Roseman?

  1. It’s always been my perspective that Eagles have been average in the draft over the past few years, so I’m not very surprised by this evaluation. A lot times I just think that there is a tremendous amount of luck in drafting and even the best GMs bust out. Being above average in drafting though would obviously be better.

    I think the first method of judging picks via start rate is very flawed because you have many role players who are very important to the team who don’t count as starters. And if someone develops at a slower pace it also can drastically affect that stat.

    I’ve always been a fan of the 2.3 starters per 7 players drafted, and rather less scientifically have always considered getting 3 “keepers” in a draft to be a success. I think there are players that have value as starters, part-time starters, role players and depth players. Again I think in this way Roseman again comes out average in his draft status.

    I do think the benefits of Roseman in terms of trades, signings and personnel outside of the draft is way above average and outweighs his possible average -below average drafting abilities.

    I actually think it’s a really cool article and I look forward to the updated version closer to the draft.

    • I think Howie’s and the Eagles problem over the last 5 years under him have been hitting the all pro’s, the guys that win you games.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I do think there are some inherent flaws in the start rate approach, but I think the same can be said for any approach that you take. The issue you raised about accurately capturing the contributions of special teams aces is a fair one, and is one of the drawbacks I considered when as I was running the calculations. However, I think the lower percentage start rates for later rounds account for that to an extent, since it creates a lower threshold for later picks to be considered successful. With that said, it isn’t perfect. Chris Maragos is a tremendous special teams guy. Assume for a minute he was a 7th round pick (he was actually an UDFA): he only started 2/77 games. Under this approach, he would be considered a “miss.” That’s why I incorporated a level of subjective evaluation as well (i.e., finding that Ertz & Curry were hits despite falling to meet the minimum start thresholds). Another way I can safeguard against this problem is to check for Pro Bowls, since they are awarded to special teams players as well. That should be fairly easy to build into the analysis.

      I agree that Roseman excels in trades and, as of late, free agent signings. My biggest concern is the one thing I feel most confident about based on this study: Roseman falls up short getting elite players. I’m not sure what the cause is. But it needs to improve if the Eagles are going to realistically compete for a SB.

  2. Really good analysis, but I think you’ll end up hitting two main points of limitations with this type of study.

    1) it’s been left completely unclear which drafts count as Howies. 2010 and 2012 were years when Howie had the highest title in the personnel department but were explained by the owner himself as two years where he was over-ruled by Andy Reid while having the best evaluations in the building in hind sight. How to you quantify that? I have no idea. We seemed to do much better in late rounds those years when Howie would presumably be making the picks and not Reid whereas Reid was probably pulling the strings in early rounds. We know for sure that 2012 was all Howie as per Lurie. That was by far our best draft. 2013 was most likely largely driven by Howie with Chip being a brand new coach and coming into the process very late. However it’s clear that Chip started to exert much more influence and even rearranged the draft board on his own by 2014 and exiled Howie by 2015. How do you quantify that? Again, I have no idea. But it’s clearly unreasonable to put any of 2015 on Howie and it’s too early to tell on 2016 which depends all on Wentz.

    2) at the end of the day, whether you count 2010, 11, 14 and/or 15 for Howie or not or only partially you’re still gonna be left with an extremely small sample size in something that has massive fluctuations in variability. If you have 5 first round picks, just one bust can swing your percentages 20 points in either direction. Given a bust rate of 40-50% in the late first round, how much stock can you really put in those numbers. I bet if you did any statistical analysis of that data you’d see that it would be very weak as far as being able to draw any conclusions.

    Ultimately, the best way to judge his drafts would probably be anecdotally. Just going through each of his drafts pick by pick and analyzing the results in hindsight with thoughts not numbers. You’ll just never have enough data points to properly power your study to draw any reasonable conclusions.

      • @Killwer. No…I meant it the way I said it. 2010 and 2011 were years that he had the highest title in the personnel department (but wasn’t necessarily called the GM), but those were years that Lurie claimed he had the best evaluations, but was over-ruled many times by Andy Reid. 2012 is the first year that Lurie states Howie ran the draft himself and the first year he really attributes the results to Howie. 2013 Howie was again GM in both title and actual power (although Chip certainly had significant influence).

    • I didn’t include 2015 for the reason you mentioned, that was clearly Chip’s draft since Roseman was turned into a glorified contract negotiator. I agree determining the lead person for 2010-2014 is difficult. As I noted at the beginning of the piece, Lurie’s “shared responsibility” format makes it hard to assign credit or blame. That’s why I tried to look at this from a holistic view — i.e., how have the Eagles drafted under Roseman. Not how Roseman has drafted.

      And those are fair points about fluctuations with such a small sample size. 48 picks is large enough IMO, but when we try to judge his first or third round prowess, it becomes prone to wild fluctuations. But, I do think we have enough overall data to make the general conclusions I mentioned above. Especially when it comes to missing on Pro Bowl and All pro talent.

      • Thanks for the reply. My one disagreement would be simply the title of the article then. If you can’t accurately assign who the lead person was and who was actually in charge and simply are opting for a holistic view that aims to see how the Eagles have drafted over the last 5 years, and not in particular how Howie has drafted, just say that and study how have the Eagles drafted over the last 5 years. The answer will likely be slightly below average. But, if you say how have the Eagles drafted under Howie Roseman you are strongly suggesting that your analyzing Howie as a drafter and I think that’s a bit unfair.

        There’s good reason to believe that he had either little input or significant meddling in the early rounds if not throughout the drafts of 3 out of the 5 you are analyzing, and of the 2 remaining, only 1 was really solely his to hang his hat on. And, that one draft of his just happens to be the best draft we’ve had in over a decade.

        As for the amount of data, it’s not a matter of thinking whether it’s enough or not. I certainly don’t feel like doing it, but you can do mathematical statistical analysis that will clearly define whether or not that’s true or not. My assumption is that if you were to conduct such a statistical analysis you’d find that you’d have an incredibly under powered study and would not be able to make any conclusions based on any reasonable confidence interval. I could be wrong, but with this much variation and deviation and the lack of data points, I highly doubt it.

  3. Here’s my analysis of Howie as a drafter. First when considering where to start the analysis I think the fairest thing to do is to simply listen to his boss and the man that knows. Jeffery Lurie has stated repeatedly that Howie first got to run the draft in 2012. Until that time Joe Banner was still prominent in the front office and Andy Reid was clearly rearranging the draft board to try and fill needs rather than taking the BPA approach. This stuff has been clearly documented and written about ad nauseum so I’ll just leave it at that. Feel free to fact check those statements on your own.

    Clearly 2012 is a Howie draft. 2013 was Chip’s first year. He wasn’t signed until the end of January and I think it’s reasonable to assume that a good portion of the draft prep and scouting had been conducted by then and that Chip, while having some influence for sure, had a lot more on his plate at that time than scouring film of 7th round prospects, so I think it’s fair to say that 2013 was mostly Howie’s draft. 2014 is one that could go either way. Howie had a good amount of influence for sure, but Chip also reportedly rearranged the entire draft board on the eve of the draft and removed players from it, he then exiled Howie after that season so that he could control the draft himself. Therefore, 2014 at best only has some ties to Howie. For those reasons I will focus on the 2012 and 2013 drafts. The analysis will be purely anecdotal and will not rely on statistical analysis because, as stated above, I do not believe such analysis is possible with so few data points.

    2012 Draft: (all picks are listed as ROUND:PICK#)
    1:12 – Fletcher Cox (traded up for 12th overall pick using 15th overall 4:114 and 6:172)
    2:46 – Mychal Kendricks
    2:59 – Vinny Curry (traded back from 51 (the second rounder we got in addition to DRC for Kolb) and picked up 4:123)
    3:76 – Philadelphia traded this selection and their fourth-round (99th) selection to Houston for linebacker DeMeco Ryans and a third-round selection (88th)
    3:88 – Nick Foles
    4:123 – Brandon Boykin
    5:153 – Dennis Kelly
    6:194 – Marvin McNutt (Eagles traded Joe Mays to Denver for this pick)
    6:200 – Brandon Washington (Eagles traded LB Tracy White to NE for this pick)
    7:229 – Bryce Brown (Eagles traded CB Asante Samuel to the Falcons for this pick)

    Analysis:
    The first thing you’ll notice is that Howie loves to wheel and deal as this draft contains a whooping 7 trades that had to happen before all the picks were in. This is the quintessential Howie draft. Overall, there is no other way to look at this draft other than it being an absolute success. Overall, the Eagles came away with:

    Fletcher Cox
    Mychal Kendricks
    Vinny Curry
    DeMeco Ryans
    Nick Foles
    Brandon Boykin
    Dennis Kelly
    Marvin McNutt
    Brandon Washington
    Bryce Brown

    That’s one of the best young defensive lineman in the league, 6 future multiyear starters (counting nickel back as a starter) and two part time starters out of one draft weekend. There’s almost nothing you could fault this draft for whatsoever. Prior to the draft, Howie pulled off one of his signature trades and fleeced the Cardinals into giving him a starting CB (DRC) and the 51st overall pick in the draft for Kevin Kolb. Regardless of what you think of DRC that trade is completely laughable in retrospect. Howie turned Kevin Kolb into DRC, Vinny Curry and Brandon Boykin.

    Then he traded up a 4th and 6th round selection to take Cox (both of which he would recoup before the draft was over). Here’s the list of the next 10 players selected after Cox in order:
    – Michael Floyd
    – Michael Brockers
    – Bruce Irvin
    – Quinton Coples
    – Dre Kirkpatrick
    – Melvin Ingram
    – Shea McClellin
    – Kendall Wright
    – Chandler Jones
    – Bradon Weeden

    Anyone want to claim that that trade up was a poor move. There’s no one on that list that any reasonable person would want over Cox. Howie also knew he had to get ahead of the Rams at 14 who took DT Brockers if he wanted to get his man and he did just that and once KC took Dontari Poe at 11, he made the deal to trade up and take Cox at 12. Home run pick.

    Mychal Kendricks in the second round has been a decent pick, but not as good as it could have been. Bobby Wagner was taken just one pick later and has been a stud for the Seahawks. Clearly this draft would have been even better had Howie got this evaluation right and taken Wagner over Kendricks. He didn’t swing and miss, but he didn’t hit a home run either. He also passed on Lavonte David who was taken at pick 58. Clearly we wanted a LB as we took Kendricks and we ended up with the worst of the three taken in that round.

    Traded back from 51 to 59, where we selected Vinny Curry and took Brandon Boykin with the 4th we picked up by trading down. For our troubles we were forced to pass on Jerel Worthy, Zach Brown, Devon Still, Ryan Broyles, Peter Konz, Mike Adams, Brock Osweiler, and Lavante David. We weren’t going to take David after taking Kendricks, so overall we didn’t pass on anyone of any significant value and still picked up our man, Curry.

    Curry is another slam dunk pick. Here’s the 10 guys taken after him:
    – Kelechi Osemele
    – LaMichael James
    – Casey Hayward
    – Reuben Randle
    – Dwayne Allen
    – Trumaine Johnson
    – Josh Robinson
    – Ronnie Hillman
    – DeVier Posey
    – TJ Graham

    Again, we got the best of the bunch there.

    In the 3rd round we were targeting Russell Wilson. Howie nailed the analysis on that one but failed at judging the potential teams that might draft him in front of us. Hard to fault him as the Seahawks had just invested a lot into multiple different QBs and weren’t thought by anyone to be in the market for another one. Howie almost had it played perfectly right, but they selected Wilson out from under us with the pick just in front of ours. After Wilson was selected at 75, we traded the 76th pick and the 99th pick for DeMeco Ryans and the 88th pick, which is not a bad save after missing out on the QB we wanted.

    The players we missed out on after that trade down:
    – Brandon Brooks (eventually got him anyways, lol)
    – DeMario Davis
    – Michael Egnew
    – Brandon Hardin
    – Jamell Fleming
    – Tyrone Crawford
    – Mike Martin (eventually got him too…then let him free)
    – Mohamed Sanu
    – Bernard Pierce
    – Dwight Bentley
    – Sean Spence
    – John Hughes

    Yea, I’d say we made out taking DeMeco Ryans instead of any of those guys.

    We took Nick Foles next. The notable players we took him over were TY Hilton, Lamar Miller, Kirk Cousins, Travis Benjamin, Nigel Bradham, Robert Turbin, LaDarius Green and 27 guys who haven’t done anything in the league. This is one of those picks that could have changed our franchise for years. If Seattle passes on Wilson, he’s an Eagle and Andy is probably still the HC. Kirk Cousins could easily be considered the better pick at this point but we’ll have to see how the two progress before making a determination on that. Overall, we wanted Russell Wilson and ended up with DeMeco Ryans and Nick Foles.

    Brandon Boykin was by far the best player selected in the 4th round from that point on. He became one of the leagues best nickel CBs before a hip condition cost him his speed. Dennis Kelly has become a serviceable backup which is a decent return on a mid 5th rounder. We didn’t pass up on anyone of note for his services. Alfred Morris taken in the mid 6th round is the only notable player taken after him. The rest of the draft is filled with no name players from Alfred Morris on and we still got value with 1 out of our three picks in the 6th and 7th rounds by selecting Bryce Brown, which Howie would eventually turn into the 2016 3rd rounder we used to trade up and get Wentz.

  4. 2013 NFL Draft:
    1:4 – Lane Johnson
    2:35 – Zach Ertz
    3:67 – Bennie Logan
    4:98 – Matt Barkley (used a 7th rounder (#210) to move up from pick 101 to pick 98 to select Barkley)
    5:136 – Earl Wolff
    6:173 – traded to Cleveland for David Sims and pick 7:212
    6:196 – traded Brodrick Bunkley to Denver for this pick and then traded this pick for Arrelious Benn and Tampa’s 7th round pick 7:218
    7:212 – Joe Kruger
    7:218 – Jordan Poyer
    7:239 – David King

    Overall we came away with:
    – Lane Johnson
    – Zach Ertz
    – Bennie Logan
    – Matt Barkley
    – Earl Wolff
    – David Sims
    – Arrelious Benn
    – Joe Kruger
    – Jordan Poyer
    – David King

    Anytime you hit on starters with your first three picks a draft is a success and that’s just what Howie did here. There were a lot less trades at the top before Howie started wheeling and dealing in the later rounds.

    If you were to take a do over on this draft, it’s possible that Lane Johnson would be the #1 overall choice. Other possible players that we passed on to take Johnson would be Ezekiel Ansah, Sheldon Richardson (maybe), DeAndre Hopkins. That’s it. Go check out the first round talent in that draft it was pathetic. Not a lot of studs to choose from. I’d say we nailed this selection as best we could.

    Zach Ertz in the second round was another good pick, particularly when you take a look at the other available players taken around him. This is why I hate the %starts stats on such limited data points. If you get 0 starts out of a player in the second round of a draft that had no good players taken in that round, did you really blow the pick or were there just no good players available. If you take a guy in the second that has 80% starts, but is decidedly mediocre, and you passed on 8 different perennial all-pros to take him, is that pick a success? It just lacks context. Here’s who we could have had in the second if not for taking Ertz:
    – Darius Slay
    – Giovani Bernard
    – Manti Teo
    – Geno Smith
    – Tank Carradine
    – Robert Woods
    – Menelik Watson
    – Johnathan Banks
    – Kawann Short
    – Kevin Minter
    – Kiko Alonso
    – LeVeon Bell
    – Johnathan Hankins
    – Jonathan Bostic
    – David Amerson
    – Jamie Collins
    – Margus Hunt
    – Jamar Taylor
    – Vance McDonald
    – Arthur Brown
    – DJ Swearinger
    – Montee Ball
    – Aaron Dobson
    – Robert Alford
    – Eddie Lacy
    – Christine Michael

    If your response is ewwww. You are correct. This draft was pathetically under-talented. The best players on here are RBs (which we certainly were not going to be drafting in the second round with LeSean McCoy in his prime) and Kawann Short. Other than that, is there anyone on here that you’re dying to have over Ertz. Manti Teo anyone? How about Geno Smith?

    Bennie Logan in the 3rd was followed up by:
    – Leon McFadden
    – Tyrann Mathieu
    – Blidi Wreh-Wilson
    – TJ McDonald
    – Brian Winters
    – Mike Glennon
    – Terrance Williams
    – Terron Armstead
    – Keenan Allen
    – Dallas Thomas
    – Marquise Goodwin
    – Markus Wheaton
    – JJ Wilcox
    – Damontre Moore
    – John Jenkins
    – Logan Ryan
    – Shawn Williams
    – Jordan Reed
    – Hugh Thornton
    – Jordan Hill
    – Corey Lemonier
    – Brennan Williams
    – Kayvon Webster
    – Duron Harmon
    – Stedman Bailey
    – Will Davis
    – Brandon Williams
    – Sam Montgomery
    – Knile Davis
    – Zaviar Gooden

    Again, if your response to that list of third rounders is, “ewwwww” you are correct. This is again an atrociously under-talented draft. Of the players we passed on to take Logan, the best are WRs Keenan Allen and Terrance Williams (which we probably weren’t considering given that we already had Jackson, Maclin and Avant under contract. And, an injury prone TE/WR named Jordan Reed, who probably wasn’t under consideration with us already taking Ertz. You could make the argument that we could have been better served taking Kawann Short and Jordan Reed over Ertz and Logan, but I think history is going to show that we took the right guys at the right spots.

    We then traded up for Barkley in the 4th round. This draft was completely devoid of talent by that point and it was obvious that he at least had the most upside at that point, so it’s tough to fault Howie for moving up. I won’t list all the terrible NFL football players that were selected after him, you can look here if you like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_NFL_Draft#cite_note-46 But, you’ll notice that you from the 2nd pick in the 4th round to the last pick in the 7th round these are probably the only names you’ll recognize unless you are related by blood to some of these people that no one else knows:
    4:103 – Alex Okafor
    4:110 – Ryan Nassib
    4:115 – Landry Jones
    4:131 – Marcus Lattimore
    5:144 – Kenny Stills
    5:151 – Joseph Randle
    5:160 – Zac Stacy
    5:166 – Caleb Sturgis
    6:181 – Latavius Murray
    6:181 – Kenjon Barner
    6:187 – Andre Ellington
    6:194 – Spencer Ware
    6:199 – Theo Riddick

    Besides Alex Okafor, is anyone really depressed we traded away a 7th round pick to take a swing on a previously highly rated QB. And, unless you love mediocre to slightly below mediocre RBs the rest of this draft had nothing for you as well. So, it really shouldn’t be surprising that we ended up with at best a single player (S Earl Wolff) who looked like he might have been able to play had he not injured his knee. Certainly not a lot of talent in this draft. It would have been fun if we had picked Okafor instead of Barkley but I completely understand the risk/reward aspect of that pick and can’t fault Howie at all for that. And, I guess we could have kept our late 6th round pick and spent it on one of those mediocre late 6th RBs instead of Chris Sims, but other than that, this draft was yet again a pretty damn good success considering how terrible the talent pool was.

    Howie seemed to recognize the lack of depth as well as top end talent in this draft and forwent all the early wheeling and dealing, stuck with our high in the round picks we started with and let the draft board decide where to go, and by doing that he nailed the first three rounds in a draft where no other team did so.

    Here’s the 1st three rounds of all the other teams:
    Arizona
    – Jonathan Cooper, Kevin Minter, Tyrann Mathieu
    Atlanta
    – Desmond Trufant
    – Robert Alford
    – Mallicaiah Goodman
    Baltimore
    – Matt Elam
    – Arthur Brown
    – Brandon Williams
    Buffalo
    – EJ Manuel
    – Robert Woods
    – Kiko Alonso
    Carolina
    – Star Lotulelei
    – Kawann Short
    – Edmund Kugbila
    Chicago
    – Kyle Long
    – Jonathan Bostic
    – Khaseem Greene
    Cincinnati
    – Tyler Eifert
    – Gio Bernard
    – Margus Hunt
    Cleveland
    – Mingo
    – Leon McFadden
    Dallas
    – Travis Frederick
    – Gavin Escobar
    -Terrance Williams
    Denver
    – Sylvester Williams
    – Montee Ball
    – Kayvon Webster
    Detroit
    – Ansah
    – Darius Slay
    – Larry Warford
    Green Bay
    – Datone Jones
    – Eddie Lacy
    Houston
    – DeAndre Hopkins
    – DJ Swearinger
    – Brennan Williams
    Indianapolis
    – Bjorn Werner
    – Hugh Thornton
    Jacksonville
    – Luke Joekel
    – Johnathan Cyprien
    – Dwayne Grate
    KC
    – Eric Fisher
    – Travis Kelce
    – Knile Davis
    Miami
    – Dion Jordan
    – Jamar Taylor
    – Dallas Thomas
    – Will Davis
    Minnesota (3 first rounders, no second or thirds)
    – Sharrif Floyd
    – Xavier Rhodes
    – Cordarrelle Patterson
    NE
    – Jamie Collins
    – Aaron Dobson
    – Logan Ryan
    – Duron Harmon
    NO
    – Kenny Vaccaro
    – Terron Armstead
    – John Jenkins
    New York Giants
    – Justin Pugh
    – Johnathan Hankins
    – Damontre Moore
    New York Jets
    – Sheldon Richardson
    – Geno Smith
    – Brian Winters
    Oakland
    – DJ Hayden
    – Menelik Watson
    – Sio Moore
    Pittsburgh
    – Jarvis Jones
    – Leveon Bell
    – Markus Wheaton
    San Diego
    – DJ Fluker
    – Manti Teo
    – Keenan Allen
    San Fran
    – Eric Reid
    – Rank Carradine
    – Vance McDonald
    – Corey Lemonier
    Seattle
    – Christine Michael
    – Jordan Hill
    St Louis (2 1st rounders and 2 3rd rounders)
    – Tavon Austin
    – Alec Ogletree
    – TJ McDonald
    – Stedman Bailey
    Tampa
    – Johnathan Banks
    – Mike Glennon
    Tennessee
    – Chance Warmack
    – Justin Hunter
    – Blidi Wreh-Wilson
    – Zavier Gooden
    Washington
    – David Amerson
    – Jordan Reed

    Does anyone want to trade our 1st three rounds for anyone else’s? Even Minnesota, who had 3 first rounders? I’d take Lane, Ertz and Logan over any of these other drafts.

    Do you see how the statistical analysis of %starts or however else you decide to judge the drafting here misses the fact that the Eagles had the best draft of any team in the league in 2013? If you don’t believe me go check out the drafts off all the other teams: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_NFL_Draft#cite_note-46

    There’s no other draft you’d reasonably pick over the Eagles that year. So while your analysis came back and told you that Howie was below average that year, he actually did better than every other GM in the league that year. You cannot compare a single draft to historical averages. You can only compare the draft class of one teams to the draft classes of other teams that year, because sometimes you end up with a really crappy set of players and unless you’re a magician you’re not going to be able to make all-pro talent appear out of nowhere and you shouldn’t be dinged for not finding such players when they don’t exist.

  5. Speaking of who had the best drafts in each year, let’s look at 2012 as well where we selected Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Foles, Boykin and see if any other team came away with a top 4 that was better than that:

    Arizona
    – Michael Floyd
    – Jamell Fleming
    – Bobby Massie
    – Justin Bethel

    Atlanta
    – Nate Potter
    – Peter Konz
    – Lamar Holmes
    – Bradie Ewing

    Baltimore
    – Courtney Upshaw
    – Bernard Pierce
    – Gino Gradkowski
    – Christian Thompson

    Buffalo
    – Stephen Gilmore
    – Cordy Glenn
    – TJ Graham
    – Nigel Bradham
    – Ron Brooks

    Carolina’s
    – Luke Kuechly
    – Josh Norman
    – Amini Silatolu
    – Frank Alexander

    Chicago
    – Shea McClellin
    – Alshon Jeffery
    – Brandon Hardin
    – Evan Rodriguez

    Cincinnati
    – Dre Kirkpatrick
    – Kevin Zeitler
    – Devon Still
    – Mohamed Sanu

    Cleveland
    – Trent Richardson
    – Brandon Weeden
    – Travis Benjamin
    – Mitchell Schwartz

    Dallas
    – Morris Claiborne
    – Tyrone Crawford
    – Kyle Wilber
    – Matt Johnson

    Denver
    – Derek Wolfe
    – Brock Osweiler
    – Ronnie Hillman
    – Omar Bolden
    – Malik Jackson
    – Danny Trevathan

    Detroit
    – Riley Reiff
    – Ryan Broyles
    – Dwight Bentley
    – Ronnell Lewis
    – Tahir Whitehead

    GB
    – Nick Perry
    – Jerel Worthy
    – Casey Hayward
    – Mike Daniels

    Houston
    – Whitney Mercilus
    – DeVeir Posey
    – Brandon Brooks
    – Jared Crick

    Indianapolis
    – Andrew Luck
    – Coby Fleener
    – Dwayne Allen
    – TY Hilton

    Jacksonville
    – Justin Blackmon
    – Andre Branch
    – Bryan Anger (a Punter)
    – Brandon Marshall (the LB)

    KC
    – Dontari Poe
    – Jeff Allen
    – Donald Stephenson
    – Devon Wylie

    Miami
    – Ryan Tannehill
    – Jonathan Martin
    – Olivier Vernon
    – Lamar Miller
    – Rishard Matthews

    Minnesota
    – Matt Kalil
    – Harrison Smith
    – Jarius Wright
    – Blair Walsh

    NE
    – Chandler Jones
    – Donta Hightower
    – Tavon Wilson
    – Jake Bequette
    – Nate Ebner

    NO
    – Akiem Hicks
    – Nick Toon

    Giants
    – David Wilson
    – Reuben Randle
    – Jayron Hosely
    – Adrien Robinson

    Jets
    – Quiton Coples
    – Stephen Hill
    – DeMario Davis
    – Josh Bush

    Oakland
    – Tony Bergstrom
    – Miles Burris
    – Jack Crawford
    – Juron Criner

    Pittsburgh
    – David Decastro
    – Mike Adams
    – Sean Spence
    – Alameda Ta’amu

    San Diego
    – Melvin Ingram
    – Kendell Reyes
    – Brandon Taylor
    – LaDarius Green
    – David Molk

    San Fran
    – AJ Jenkins
    – LaMichael James
    – Joe Looney
    – Darius Fleming

    Seattle
    – Bruce Irvin
    – Bobby Wagner
    – Russell Wilson
    – JR Sweezy
    – Robert Turbin

    St Louis
    – Michael Brockers
    – Brian Quick
    – Janoris Jenkins
    – Isaiah Pead
    – Chris Givens
    – Greg Zuerlein

    Tampa
    – Mark Barron
    – Doug Martin
    – Lavonte David
    – Najee Goode

    Tennessee
    – Kendall Wright
    – Zach Brown
    – Mike Martin
    – Coty Sensabough

    Washington
    – RG3
    – Josh LeRibeus
    – Kirk Cousins
    – Alfred Morris

    How many of those would you pick over Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Foles and Boykin. Probably Seattle’s, maybe Indianapolis’ simply because of Luck (who I personally think is quite overrated), other than that who? Perhaps Miami’s if you’re being generous, but I can’t find any other teams that drafted better this year, particularly when you add in DeMeco Ryans, Dennis Kelly and Bryce Brown.

    So once again we see that compared to the rest of the league, Howie had potentially the best draft in the league, but if not, a top 3 perhaps and definitely a top 5 draft. So in the two drafts where he actually got to run the things without being hindered by someone else he had probably the 3rd best draft in the league followed by the best draft in the league in consecutive years.

    And, yet overall analysis paints a much poorer picture than you’d expect and in no way do you come away with the impression that the Eagles had the best two year run of drafting of any team in the entire league for the two years we know for a fact Howie was left alone and allowed to do his thing. And, that’s why I believe, that while time consuming and tedious it is far, far more valuable to look at each draft objectively and anecdotally rather than trying to aggregate the picks into a statistical pattern that can then be graded outside of context.

    Judging by what Howie did in 2012 and 2013 where he obtained the following players during those two drafts:

    Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Foles, Boykin, Dennis Kelly, Bryce Brown, DeMeco Ryans, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Bennie Logan

    I firmly believe that letting Howie do his thing and draft the players that he believes in his the best thing for this team.

  6. My post analyzing the 2013 draft and about who had the best draft in 2013 didn’t post apparently and I’m too tired to retype it all. Essentially we came away with a top three picks of Johnson, Ertz, and Logan in a draft that was completely devoid of talent. We traded up in the 4th for Barkley because he was the only guy left in that horrible draft that had any known upside at the time. After him the only real notable player that was drafted that might have been of interest was Alec Okafor. After that the draft is just a long list of people that no one, unless you’re family members of those individuals has any knowledge or recollection of save for a handful of late 6th round mediocre RBs and one or two less than mediocre WRs, none of which were really in play for us given we had McCoy, Brown, Jackson, Maclin, and Avant all in their primes signed to long term deals.

    If you do a similar analysis like I did above and check out each teams best 3 or 4 players from that draft and compare them to ours, it’s absolutely laughable. No one has a draft that’s even close to as good as ours with Johnson, Ertz and Logan. It’s easily the best draft in the league that year, despite the stats above showing it to be mediocre or below average. That is why I don’t think the statistics you’re showing offer a good glimpse into the actual drafting skill involved. You can’t compare such wildly fluctuating numbers like %starts from one years draft to an aggregate average from multiple years because sometimes there’s a draft that’s simply devoid of talent, if you take someone like Ertz who has very few starts over a bunch of complete busts that’s a good pick. If you take him over 8 perennial all-pros including other better TEs then it’s not. You need that context. In 2013 we consistently got the best players available and ended up with the best overall draft that year and I challenge anyone to say otherwise and actually back it up.

  7. Pingback: The Eagles Should Trade for Alshon Jeffery | Eagles Rewind

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